Monday November 24th, 2014
Monday November 24th, 2014
Latest

We are all Boko Haram

  /   in The Orbit 12:20 am   /   Comments

Boko-Haram1

Boko Haram’s latest onslaughts in Potiskum and Mubi this past week draw our attention once again to the growing strength and defiance of its terrorist operations. If anything has defined the Jonathan presidency, it has been the Boko Haram insurgency, the single most dangerous political development in Nigeria since the civil war. In a sense, Jonathan is struggling with history, and the nature of his presidential legacy.

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P.O.C UMEH’S POETRY

  /   in The Orbit 1:23 am   /   Comments

Corruption1

Philip O.C. Umeh studied English at the University of Lagos; taught English at the Government College, Umuahia where he was senior English Master until 1978, and where he himself had been a student, from 1955 to 1961, one year below the writer and political martyr, Ken Saro-Wiwa in the famous school, to whom he addresses a eulogy, “To Ken Saro Wiwa” in his poems:

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Goodluck Jonathan’s Albatross

  /   in The Orbit 12:19 am   /   Comments

President Goodluck Jonathan displaying Expression of Interest and Nomination Forms  at the People's Democratic Party's Secretariat in Abuja on Thursday (30/10/14).

Of all those who emerged to lead the government in Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, Nigeria’s current president is the darkest of its dark horses. Nigeria’s governments have always been led by dark horses – those least expected to emerge: Balewa was sprung from the political loins of the British colonial office; Yakubu Gowon from a concert of neo-colonial and regionalist military interests that dismantled the firm hierarchies of the Nigerian Armed Forces; Obasanjo from the need to enact balance and reassure Nigeria’s “foreign partners” after the assassination of Murtala Muhammed; as a much younger politician, Shehu Shagari was the late Sarduana’s “ears and eyes” in Balewa’s cabinet, and so the Caliph’s vizier, in Nigeria’s central government. In the second republic, while those who sought power actively were busy, he was taken from his senatorial ambition and made President, and on and on.

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Politics and poverty in Nigeria

  /   in The Orbit 12:01 am   /   Comments

Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of Kano State, Gen  Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) and Prince Tony Momoh at  African House , Government House Kano. Photo by A S Muhammad, Kano

Mr. Muhammadu Buhari, former Major-General and Military Head of state of Nigeria (January 1984 – August 1985) is back to the hustings. Politics is in the air and so too much of its confusing doublespeak, chicanery, and contradictions.

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Ebola: The diaspora and contagion

  /   in The Orbit 12:26 am   /   Comments

A seller of bananas walks past a slogan painted on a wall reading "Ebola" in Monrovia on August 31, 2014. Liberia on August 30, 2014 said it would deny permission for any crew to disembark from ships at the country's four seaports until the Ebola epidemic ravaging west Africa was under control. AFP PHOTO

By Oby Nwakanma The United States government was the first government in the world to respond with care and urgency to the Ebola crisis in West Africa. There is once more that example here of the United States as a force for good in the world. American health workers, in the discharge of their humanitarian

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As the political wheels turn

  /   in The Orbit 12:30 am   /   Comments

cartoon-politicans

By OBI NWAKANMA Readers of the “Orbit” may have noticed the absence of this column in the last month. Well, I have to occasionally be on a break from this column and from the affairs of the world, whose enormity sometimes can overwhelm even the most practical and sanest of men. The columnist sometimes has

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Ihejirika, sponsor Boko Haram?

  /   in The Orbit 8:05 pm   /   Comments

*Ihejirika

An Australian hostage negotiator, Dr. Stephen Davies made some startling statements last week, and it was widely reported by the on-line news magazine, Sahara Reporters. There was a certain inordinate glee in its reports, being as some of its critics now aver, that the folks at Sahara Reporters like to throw sand in the eyes of the Jonathan administration. To be fair, it is the professional duty of Sahara Reporters to throw sand in the eyes of the administration whenever it could, particularly where the administration is belligerent and hard of hearing on matters of grave national concern.

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Latest

National Identification and the Master Card

  /   in The Orbit 12:44 am   /   Comments

Last Tuesday, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan launched the Nigerian National Identity card to great expectations. The National Identity Card project has been long in the making. The first proposal for the National ID project was mooted in 1976, but various interests, including cultural and religious concerns, pressured the administration into abandoning the idea.

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The chicken and cow business in Enugu Government House

  /   in The Orbit 12:59 am   /   Comments

Onyebuchi: Chime asked me to take all instructions given by Mrs. Nwobodo

The Igbo have a rather pithy saying about fortuitous revelations. It is good, they say, that the wind blows now and then, or so that men too would know that the chicken has an anus. The chicken indeed does have an anus, and there is evidence of this in the Enugu Government House where an impeachment saga has opened up some funny chicken business.

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Ebola and the rest of us

  /   in The Orbit 12:02 am   /   Comments

Health workers evacuating the remains of an Ebola  Virus Disease victim.

I was on my way to Kigali in 1994, to report the brewing troubles in Rwanda, when the Ebola fever epidemic broke out in Zaire. Travelers were quarantined in the Kinshasha International Airport. All connecting flights to Kigali were cancelled. I contemplated the possibility of an Air Afrique flight to Arusha, in Tanzania, and from thence by car to Kigali.

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The US-Africa Heads of States and governments jamboree

  /   in The Orbit 12:09 am   /   Comments

US President Barack Obamar) talks with President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria before their bilateral meeting in New York on September 23, 2013 on the sideline of the United Nations General Assembly. AFP Photo

Fifty of Africa’s Heads of states and governments arrived Washington DC, the US capital last week for a conference with the American president, Mr. Barack Obama. But the universe was indifferent – well not quite – it had a rather morbid sense of humor: Ebola was in the ai

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Latest

Time for the liquidation of Boko Haram

  /   in The Orbit 10:35 pm   /   Comments

Buhari-kaduna-blast

Imagine this scenario: Boko Haram grows more sophisticated; more daring, recruits wider, establishes better training facilities, acquires deadlier arms and more potent military capacity, enough to subdue and carve out a wide swath of Nigeria from the Chad basin, to the Adamawa hills. It secures swaths of land from parts of Chad, parts of Cameroon, and parts of the Central African Republic, and it creates an effective new country in the very heart of Central West Africa. This scenario is not too far-fetched, and ought to worry Nigeria’s security analysts, because it seems to me that we have a new scale of a vast and unthinkable problem shaping from this insurgency.

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Fifty-four sham states will not the federation make

  /   in The Orbit 12:28 am   /   Comments

Artists representing Nigeria perform during the opening ceremony of the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013, held before the Group A football match between Brazil and Japan, at the National Stadium in Brasilia on June 15, 2013.  AFP PHOTO /

I doubt very much that a majority of Nigerians are tuned in to the goings on at the National Conference. A lot of Nigerians still regard it with some distrust. For one, it was constituted without the consent or input of the voting public; the citizens of Nigeria.

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Where is Emenike Ihekwaba?

  /   in The Orbit 12:16 am   /   Comments

As I write this, Hurricane Arthur lashes against the Cape Hateras, in the Outerbanks of North Carolina’s Atlantic Coast, where I’ve been vacationing with my family in the summer cottage of our friends, the Kladakis.
We are in the true eye of the hurricane. It is 2 am; the wind has gained strength, all is dark and silent; calm even; but for the eerie roar of the sea outside.

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The Fayemi example

  /   in The Orbit 12:42 am   /   Comments

Governorship Candidate, All Progressives Congress, APC, Dr Kayode Fayemi; with his wife, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, on the verge of casting their votes at Ogilolo Ward, Isan-Ekiti... on Saturday.

Democracy is a system of social organization in which profoundly conflicting interests clash, and are resolved in a ballot in which the highest number take precedence. But that’s not all of it: it is also a habit of the mind willing to accept the sacred results of the ballot. The ballot in a democracy is the Holy Grail; sacred because it is the expression of the highest will of the most important factor in the social contract: the governed.

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As The Eagles Fly…

  /   in The Orbit 12:03 am   /   Comments

UNITED STATES, JACKSONVILLE : JACKSONVILLE, FL - Forward Jozy Altidore #17 of the United States shoots and scores his second game of the game behind defender Joseph Yobo #2 of Nigeria during the international friendly match at EverBank Field on June 7, 2014 in Jacksonville, Florida. AFP

Last weekend, I drove from Orlando to Jacksonville, with my son, Kiran Amaechina, my cousin Chika, and his friend, Dozie Aguwa, to watch the Nigerian National team, the Eagles, play the US National Soccer team, in the final prep matches before the World Cup finals in Brazil. My son loves football – soccer they call it here – and plays as an attacking midfielder for a U-12 youth team, the “Spartans,” here in Orlando. So, I’m something of a “soccer dad.” I drive him around for his after-school practices and his many games and tournaments. And I love it.

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Nigeria’s democracy: Expensive shit?

  /   in The Orbit 12:56 am   /   Comments

Jonathan

Nigeria’s Afro-Jazz legend, Fela Kuti wrote a song in 1975, which he titled, “Expensive Shit.” It was a lyrical satire, an account of one of his numerous run-ins with the powers of the Nigerian state, which forced him once, as a means of collecting evidence on him to, not expectorate, but dislodge fecal matter. It was from suspicion that he had destroyed evidence by chewing and swallowing down marijuana.

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The Igbo and the National Conference

  /   in The Orbit 12:23 am   /   Comments

Igbo-men

The Igbo are conducting what I call the inward gaze. I went to Chicago, therefore to articulate the following positions: that the Igbo must come to terms with their historical role and task as builders of a modern polynational state. In this task, they are in partnership with other nationalists for whom the Nigerian state built on justice, equity, and freedom is a historical imperative.

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A nation and her discontents

  /   in The Orbit 12:25 am   /   Comments

Nigeria

It is very true that Nigeria’s elite – its political, business and intellectual leadership – has much to answer for its regard of its historical role in shaping a better Nigeria for posterity. Part of the crisis of Nigeria is elite incoherence where it matters.

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America to the rescue

  /   in The Orbit 12:02 am   /   Comments

US President Barack Obama (R) shakes hands with President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria before their bilateral meeting in New York on September 23, 2013 on the sideline of the United Nations General Assembly. AFP

As I write this, I have right here before me, the full text of the speech made to Nigerians by Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, first president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, on Republic Day, October 1, 1963, titled, “Bravely Struggling Against Odds.”

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The lost girls of Chibok

  /   in The Orbit 12:10 am   /   Comments

Abuja : Former Nigerian Education Minister and Vice-President of the World Bank's Africa division (3r L) Obiageli leads a march of Nigeria women and mothers of the kidnapped girls of Chibok, calling for their freedom in Abuja on April 30, 2014.

Americans themselves rose up and backed their president across party line. They closed ranks in the national interest. Nobody blamed the president for a National Security slip that allowed terrorists to acquire a plane; operate under the radar of a vast and sophisticated American Surveillance capacity, and haul a deadly flying missile each on the World Trade Towers in New York, and the Pentagon in Washington DC, two powerful symbols of American power and invulnerability.

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BOB MIGA (1949-2014)

  /   in The Orbit 12:10 am   /   Comments

miga-new

Valentine Soroibe Agim was mostly known as Bob Miga. For those like me who grew up in Nigeria in the 1970s and early ‘80s, Bob Miga was a classic act; a superstar, and one among a wave of music celebrities whose sounds touched a core in our lives in a powerful and memorable way. It was particularly so for those in the East of Nigeria who came out of the civil war utterly devastated by war. Music saved our lives. It was young men – many just barely out of high school – who consoled us with the pulse of the most invigorating sounds ever created in the continent of Africa – with their unique, modern Afro-rock idioms. These young men took Nigeria by storm. They played music to fob-off anger and despondence. They played music to live.

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A kidnap, the Nyanya Park bombing, and the last straw

  /   in The Orbit 12:38 am   /   Comments

The Nyaya explosion: Photo: Citizen
Irikefe Bubu-Joe .

A specter hangs above Nigeria. It is the specter of war and violence. The election year 2015 draws very close, and closer still rises this spectre that will mark the coming year as Nigeria’s second annus horriblis. Since the election of the current President, Nigeria has been inundated by serial acts of extreme violence and subversion, coming mostly from the North.

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The President’s conference: Between monarchy and secession

  /   in The Orbit 12:10 am   /   Comments

CONFAB

Skepticism continues to trail the on-going conference called by the President in Abuja to determine Nigeria’s future path. There questions of the legitimacy of the conference. Such a question has been raised because there is no obvious constitutional backing for the conference.

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Immigration deaths: The horror! the horror!!

  /   in The Orbit 12:16 am   /   Comments

*Pix. 4: Applicvants who could not find seats await further insatructions as others take seats to write the Nigeria Immigration Service examinations at the 60,000 capacity National Stadium, Abuja. Photo by Abayomi Adeshida

My fourth-grade teacher – who was also my all-time favorite – Mrs. Beatrice Ohaka was a kindly and charming woman. In her most voluble moments she used to say to us kids: “you are the leaders of tomorrow. You will go to University or to England, and become important people. Do important things. Become teachers, doctors, engineers, journalists, professors; and you will make me proud.”

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National Conference, whose national conference?

  /   in The Orbit 12:05 am   /   Comments

confab-delegates

Once upon a time, in the land of the animals, a great famine had descended on the land. The earth could no longer yield her bounties, and so death, disease, and all manner of disasters became rife. It got to such a point when the animals agreed to convene a great gathering of all the animals to seek the cause of the earth’s anger and find a solution.

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Nigeria: A century of lies

  /   in The Orbit 3:00 am   /   Comments

From Left: Former President, Alhaji Shehu Shagari; former Head of State, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari; President Goodluck Jonathan and former Head of Interim National Government, Chief Ernest Shonekan, at the Centenary Dinner and Awards in Abuja on Friday (28/2/14). NAN

President Goodluck Jonathan’s government published the list of individuals it honored to mark Nigeria’s centenary and not unexpectedly it roused serious public umbrage. This administration is just simply plodding from one misstep into another, for in releasing that list, the Jonathan administration showed a total ignorance of history and the symbolism that accompanies every historical proclamation. Again, here, the president was offered poor guidance in the choices that he announced publicly.

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Sanusi: The President overstepped his constitutional powers

  /   in The Orbit 12:16 am   /   Comments

Former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Alhaji Lamido Sanusi

A great drama is currently playing out in the federal government which might yet define the Jonathan presidency. It is a powerplay between the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and one of the most flamboyant public servants of the moment, Mr. Sanusi Lamido, Governor, quondam, of the Central Bank of Nigeria. On Thursday, the president, through a letter signed by the Secretary to the Federal Government, Mr. Pius Anyim, suspended Mr. Lamido from office as the Governor of the apex bank.

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The $20 Billion that would not go away

  /   in The Orbit 12:59 am   /   Comments

OIL REVENUE—Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke (middle) answering questions from journalists, after an investigative hearing by the Senate committee on Finance on alleged unremitted oil revenue, at the National Assembly, in Abuja, yesterday. Photo: Gbemiga Olamikan.

At last the Federal government has committed to hiring independent Forensic Auditors to verify, and get to the roots of the persistent allegation of a missing $20 billion from the oil accounts. This move was announced on Thursday by Finance Minister and the Federal government’s Chief Treasurer, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, at a press briefing following her appearance before the senate’s Finance Committee which had commenced investigations into the alleged missing funds.

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Notes Towards A National Conference (2)

  /   in The Orbit 12:22 am   /   Comments

national-conference

On Wednesday just past, the federal government, through the office of the Chief Secretary of State (Secretary to the Federal Government), announced the final guidelines for the proposed National Conference to be convened in Abuja, the federal capital. It might suffice here to summarize the modalities as announced by Mr. Anyim Pius Anyim: the conference is billed tentatively to last through three months of deliberation to be managed by a Conference Management Secretariat. Delegation to the conference would come from the six regional or geo-political areas as well as nominations from special interest groups, from “traditional rulers” to professional bodies, to Labour, to “Civil Society Groups.”

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APC and the escalating violence in Rivers State

  /   in The Orbit 12:27 am   /   Comments

Senator Abe taken to hospital

On Friday, Vanguard reported that the National Executive Committee of the opposition All Peoples Congress (APC) directed its members in the National Assembly to block the passing of the appropriation bill and the confirmation hearings of the president’s new cabinet nominees and service appointments to the Nigerian High Command “until the federal government halts the escalating violence in Rivers State.”

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Is the President weak?

  /   in The Orbit 2:08 am   /   Comments

President Goodluck Jonathan (centre) inspecting parade during the Nigerian Army Day Celebration in Abuja On Saturday (6/7/13)

Not too long ago, in an interview granted to a newspaper, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, second republic member of the Federal House of Representatives, described the president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as a “nincompoop.” This utter lack of measure in his address of the President of the Republic did not elicit even a public reaction, least of all by the national press who ought to have reprimanded him. You may disagree and oppose the president of Nigeria, but to call the president a nincompoop is madness and an insult to the nation. Two weeks ago the Kano State governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso called Jonathan a “weak president,” and almost as though in lock step, the Central Bank governor, Mallam Sanusi, allegedly refused to resign in spite of the President’s request, whose trust he no longer enjoys. Mallam Sanusi had misled the nation in his leaked letter to the president alleging at first that the administration is unable to account for $49.8 billion from the oil revenues, and later modifying it to $10 billion, lost in the dark hole of the administration’s oil account.

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